635: Locke and Demosthenes

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Locke and Demosthenes
Dear Peter Wiggin: This letter is to inform you that you have received enough up votes on your reddit comments to become president of the world. Please be at the UN tomorrow at 8:00 sharp.
Title text: Dear Peter Wiggin: This letter is to inform you that you have received enough up votes on your reddit comments to become president of the world. Please be at the UN tomorrow at 8:00 sharp.

Explanation

This is from Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card. Ender is an above-average-intelligence boy who is selected to become a potential leader of Earth's "Defense" Forces in the event of another Bugger (For those wondering about the Wikipedia link, in future books the Buggers are renamed to the Formics to be more politically correct, and to also not have an English swear word as the name of a race) invasion. Meanwhile, Ender's two older siblings, Peter and Valentine decide to save the world from itself. They do this by asserting themselves as wise demagogues who comment on political events on what are known as the "free nets" which are nets open to comment by anyone in the world. They choose pseudonyms to write under, as no one would take the words of children seriously, they choose Locke (Peter's pseudonym), and Demosthenes (Valentine's) and begin work. Eventually they gain enough respect to be invited to participate in moderated political debates in the higher class nets. By the end of the book, Peter has become the leader of the world, as Valentine runs away to the former Bugger homeworld with Ender to live out their lives in peace.

The whole thing is eerily reminiscent of what blogging has become, without the becoming-the-head-of-government outcome, obviously. Randall is suggesting that if the book was set with today's technology, Locke and Demosthenes would be getting extremely low exposure with their wordpress blogs as evidenced by the 0 comments on each post; the title text sarcastically invites Peter to be head of the UN.

If you happen to be wondering about the squirrel, Peter Wiggin is portrayed as a sadistic sociopath. There is a scene in the book where Valentine stumbles across a skinned squirrel still twitching in pain.

Transcript

[Valentine is laying on her back on the ground. Peter is feeding a squirrel.]
Valentine: Ender's up there saving the world, but down here it's falling apart politically. What can we do?
Peter: I know — we get on the nets and anonymously post political opinions. People reading our articles will see our intelligence, recognize how clear and logical our arguments are, and insist that we be put in charge, so we can fix everything!
Valentine: Brilliant!
[The squirrel is vomiting.]
[A blog.]
(Header.)
LOCKE
Powered by Wordpress
(Articles, partly scrolled down.)
[...] which is why we must reach out to the Russian leadership.
Posted at 3:15AM by Locke
Comments (0)
(In a larger font)
The Problem with China
In recent months much has been made of [...]
(In a sidebar)
Recent posts:
>> A few thoughts on...
Comments (0)
>> Russian Aggression...
Comments (1)
>> Trade policy and the...
Comments (0)
>> And one more thing...
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>> Everyone's wrong about...
Comments (1)
(A list of links to other websites.)
Blogroll:
>> Demosthenes
>> FiveThirtyEight
Comment.png add a comment!

Discussion

...may someone explain FiveThirtyEight? Greyson (talk) 15:34, 19 November 2012 (UTC)

FiveThirtyEight AFAIK is the Twitter handle (and the name of his blog, which is now a part of the NY Times) of statistician Nate Silver. He may have chosen to use that handle as it is the number of votes in the Electoral College. And now that I've done all that research, I might copy this into the explanation. lcarsos_a (talk) 17:13, 19 November 2012 (UTC)
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